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POLITICS > EU has no respect for democracy, says Turkish PM Erdoğan

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Turkey and the EU have ‘different opinions on freedom’ and the EU ‘does not respect democracy,’ says PM Erdoğan, as international pressure on Ankara grows regarding the police crackdown on protesters

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Police again use water cannons against protesters on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue. Turkey has recieved strong criticism over police violence. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Police again use water cannons against protesters on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue. Turkey has recieved strong criticism over police violence. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued his harshly-worded criticisms against the European Union yesterday, accusing Brussels of being "undemocratic" in his latest reaction against the recent European Parliament resolution critical against of the government's handling of the ongoing protests.

“Do you have the right to take such a decision [on Turkey]? You stay silent about what’s happening in France, in England and elsewhere in Europe, and you dare to take a decision on our security forces, who are exercising their duty of law enforcement against those demonstrators. You are anti-democratic,” Erdoğan said at a meeting in Ankara on Monday.

“You [EU] do not respect democracy. Your definition of freedom is different. You support those who attack the freedom of others,” he added.

Describing the activities of the Gezi Park activists as an attempt to restrict the freedom of him and others, Erdoğan repeated his attack on the European Parliament by saying he did not "recognize" it. “I do not recognize this Parliament of the European Union,” he said.

The prime minister sharpened his tone against the EU and European countries in two mass rallies he held over the weekend, accusing some "world powers" of being partners of "internal plotters" aiming to weaken his government. He said he did not recognize the decision of the European Parliament last week, but on Monday he took it further by saying that he no longer recognized the entire European Parliament. 

Almost all the heavyweights of the EU issued criticism of the Turkish government with calls to respect the right to freedom of assembly and the right to freedom of expression, and calls to end the police's excessive use of force against peaceful activists. The response from Turkish officials was harsh and also included counter-accusations of these countries’ and their international media of provoking demonstrations through misinformation and distortion.

‘We gathered more than one million’

Giving examples of how the international media was playing its role in a "defamation" campaign against the government, Erdoğan again took aim at CNN International. “CNN’s [International] subtitle described our rally [on Sunday] as a demonstration against the government. But it deleted this one or two hours later without feeling ashamed. There were more than one million people there. They have all been gathered there to stand against anti-democratic demonstrations,” he said.

Erdoğan also categorized this campaign against his government as directly targeting Turkey’s growing economy and "improving democracy."

Bağış in quarrel with Jagland

Growing disagreement between Turkey and its European allies also causes fresh quarrels between Turkish and European politicians. Pointing at freedom of assembly in Turkey, EU Minister Egemen Bağış suggested that Secretary General of the Council of Europe (CoE) Thorbjørn Jagland should first examine how the same freedom was exercised in Europe.

“If Jagland would examine the member states of the council he is the secretary general of, he would see that actually Turkey’s freedom of assembly is much above those countries,” Bağış told Anatolia news agency on June 17, in an apparent response to a statement by Jagland delivered on June 16.

In his statement, Jagland particularly underlined “the legally binding standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the freedom of assembly – and its limits.”

“It is true that this right is not absolute, but any restriction has to be prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights is very clear on this. Authorities have to take appropriate measures with regard to demonstrations in order to ensure their peaceful conduct and the safety of all citizens,” Jagland said.

June/17/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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mara mcglothin

6/18/2013 8:30:39 PM

JOSHUA The President paints a better picture BUT he is cut from the same cloth, OR maybe even worse. Don't be fooled.

mike alexander

6/18/2013 8:10:33 PM

Mr Erdogan, is your Democracy the sharia law ? covering women from her feet to her eyes ? having no rights ? Staying home having kids and being lilled any time het husband wants without consicunses ?? Well the EU and the majority of the Turkish people tell you and your friends NO. You are out and at the end in the prison with your ex-friend Al-Assad !!!! YOU ARE A DICTATOR AND YOU'LL BE OUSTED BY THOSE YOU VOTED YOU IN !!!! ASTA LA VISTA AMIGO !

Joshua Bronxman

6/18/2013 1:36:28 PM

During his tenure at City Hall the future prime minister made a now often repeated statement to a journalist from the daily Milliyet, “Democracy,” he declared, “is like a tram. You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” I guess this must be the reason that he's saying that the EU has no respect for Democracy. He's talking about his own definition. The AKP will survive but President Gul has received a major boost for replacing Ergogan.

Fr Grey

6/18/2013 12:53:36 PM

Dear Readers, and Commenters, whether or not you agree with PM, no matter you like or hate PM, Turkey needs a leader like him who does not bow to Europe and USA, and who can stand straightly and speak strongly. Personally, I believe PM is right this time.

Richard Wyatt

6/18/2013 11:12:53 AM

*Cue hilarious laughter from the world audience.*

two sides to every coin

6/18/2013 9:35:51 AM

What a childish stupid comment from a so called diplomat, RTE you have lost the plot totally. I think he should look up the word democracy in the dictionary, this will enlighten him with the knowledge that he has no idea what it means.

Dr. Prof. Novnesense

6/18/2013 7:36:09 AM

Every time one of these AKP open their mouth, they make more outrages statements. They need to open their eyes and listen rather that talk so much.

Blue Beyond

6/18/2013 7:33:31 AM

The PM does not understand that a democracy is measured by the extent to which it protects minority rights. A majority vote is not a mandate to abuse the rest of the population. There is a democratic tradition of government resignation when a crisis is created by the government, in order for the government of the day to seek confirmation of its popular mandate or give it up. That is the appropriate step for PM Erdogan to take. There is no role for a sultan to play in a democracy.

K M

6/18/2013 6:28:44 AM

Just figuring that out Tevifik? He is an imam hatip grad and undistinguished graduate of lower-tier universities. He played football. While he was mayor, his son ran over and killed a famous singer in a crosswalk. He did no time. Wikipedia notes that he's filthy rich without having done much, but there's active censorship about him (will this get published) and the Turkish-language Wikipedia is frequently deleted.

Mark Tak

6/18/2013 4:31:16 AM

I million Koylu (villagers) do not understand economy or fake inflated bank credit backed economy, Erdogan is making this escalate bez Turkish economy is going to tank and he will blame this on Protestors.now he wants to cut off internet use that will make problems worse, he is escalating the events he has an other plan that is for sure
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